by Melissa Macker, Executive Director
The 567 has changed a lot over the years since it started as an informal concept at 567 Cherry Street eight or so years ago, but it’s always been a multi-purpose space that has combined different activities in a way that people don’t always expect. As a result, if you asked 5 random people what The 567 is, you might get 5 different answers.
The combination of art and music and business and miscellaneous other creative events (and even a church) under one roof has been messy at times. The purpose and heartbeat of these activities, however, was always the same for us: bring more people and businesses downtown. Support the unique, creative vibe of downtown. Do everything in a way that brings people together and encourages cooperation.
Of course, the way we do those things is constantly changing, just as downtown itself has changed dramatically since we started. It’s fun to look behind at what The 567 has been, and ahead to what it will be. So what is The 567? It’s…
1. Corks & Canvas. By far the most common event we have these days is Corks & Canvas, partially because there’s so much demand for it. We started these classes as a way to make art fun for adults, and to help them connect with local artists who would teach the classes. Bonus: these classes have brought over 300 people downtown.
2. Other art classes. We try to give people opportunities to grow their artistic skills and learn other mediums, including watercolor, pen and ink, and photography. We also bring families downtown with kids’ art classes.
3. An art gallery. When people walk into our new space most days, what they first see is an art gallery. Our space is filled with rotating monthly exhibits where we showcase the work of students, local artists, and sometimes regional artists who catch our attention. We join the other downtown galleries in having First Friday art openings, and sometimes we have Coffee Talks with the artists featured in our gallery. Coffee Talks are less of a lecture and more of a conversation with the artist.
4. Lost Keys Collective. The projects of Lost Keys Collective, such as a literary festival and the pop-up poetry garden in Third Street Park, fall right in line with our goal of bringing creative life to downtown Macon. As their fiscal sponsor, we help them process donations and give them advice from time to time, so they can keep doing cool things.
5. A space for new businesses. We’ve had several start-up businesses call The 567 home. Of those who’ve moved on, some still have offices downtown. Those who’ve chosen to locate their business in other parts of the city after moving out still have a soft spot in their heart for downtown after experiencing what makes it so special. We also offer workshops and networking events from time to time to help business owners learn new skills and make connections.
6. A music venue. When The 567 first opened its doors, it was mainly a music venue. As we’ve changed and downtown has changed, we’ve gotten away from putting on concerts. We still have a soft spot for musicians, though, and we’d like to occasionally offer small concerts in the future.
7. A place to try new things. A couple of years ago we hosted Lunch Beat Macon, a monthly lunchtime dance party. It was just one example of how we got to partner with local creatives (Floco Torres & DJ Shawty Slim) to help them bring their idea to life and make downtown a little cooler.
What is The 567 to you?